"How can parents instill values and morality in their children?" asked a befuddled Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE). "How can educators teach our children? How can the rule of law for every American be applied equally if we have two standards of justice in America – one for the powerful and the other for the rest of us?"
Former Senator Bill Frist joined Hagel in slamming Bush's actions, saying the commutation amounted to unfair treatment. "He is not above the law," said the clearly enraged Republican from Tennessee. "If an ordinary citizen committed these crimes, he would go to jail."
You would think, of all places, President Bush would find some love in his home state of Texas -- but not so. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said the Libby communion jeopardizes the nation’s entire legal system.
"I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury," the senator said. "And I don't want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don't want it to be faded in any way."
Fellow Republican Texan Tom Delay, himself indicted, nonetheless issued a scathing attack on the commutation.
"No man is above the law, and no man is below the law," Delay said, choking back tears. "That's the principle that we all hold very dear in this country."
There's more. From Ohio Republican Steve Chabot -- who also served as one of the House managers in the impeachment trial of President Clinton: "It would be wrong for you to send a message to every American that it's acceptable to lie under oath and obstruct a federal investigation. It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter."
Robert Bork and James Rosen, in the National Review: "Lying under oath strikes at the heart of our system of justice and the rule of law. It does not matter in the least what the perjury is about ..."
Virtues paragon Bill Bennett, speaking to the WSJ: "And we know that when a person testifies under oath that he doesn't remember something when in fact he does, he has committed perjury."
And when asked his opinion of Alberto Gonzales, Bennett replied, "Ditto".
(Of course, these Republicans weren't talking about Libby at all. They are actual quotes, all made during the Clinton impeachment.)